5-Year-Old River “Oakley” Nimmo Loses Battle With Cancer, Is Given Heartwarming Military Funeral Service

River “Oakley” Nimmo passed away at age five surrounded by his loved ones. Oakley had always dreamed of being in the Army and celebrated his fifth and final birthday with that dream in mind. According to People, Oakley celebrated his big day “dressed in camouflage, playing with toy gear and spending time with army personnel in the hospital as he underwent treatment for cancer.” 

But Oakley sadly passed away on Thursday, June 20. His family shared: “We are going to give Oakley a full military service in honor of his wish to become an ‘Army Man,’ one day,” the post continued. “We ask that any active military members and/or veterans to please attend the funeral in their uniforms.”

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In the end, Oakley’s dream was realized.

According to KATV, The Arkansas National Guard promoted Oakley as an Honorary Colonel, assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters at Camp Joseph T. Robinson as an “Army Man.”

His certificate reads:

“That reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity, and abilities of River Oakley Nimmo, I do hereby appoint him an Honorary Colonel in the National Guard of Arkansas and of the United States to rank as such from the 20th day of June Two Thousand Nineteen. He is therefore carefully and diligently to discharge the duty of the office to which he is appointed by doing and performing all manners of things thereunto belonging. This commission is to continue in force during the pleasure of the Governor of the State of Arkansas for the time being.”

river oakley nimmo service

Oakley was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2015 and had chemotherapy and multiple surgeries. In 2017, he was declared cancer-free, but his cancer returned just a month later and progressed very rapidly. 

Oakley’s cancer spread to his spine, knees, skull, and pelvis. He was soon placed in hospice care at Arkansas Children Hospital in Little Rock.  

His family shared in his obituary, A sweet, brave boy-Oakley was known by his family and friends to be feisty, courageous, smart and full of life.”

Oakley’s service took place on Tuesday, July 2 at 10 a.m. at Cullendale First Baptist Church in Camden, Arkansas.

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